Prism Health North Texas (PHNTX) is working to fight the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS in the North Texas community with a new Anti HIV Stigma campaign. The largest AIDS organization in North Texas launched the campaign as part of their decades-long efforts to push for awareness, acceptance, and kindness for HIV positive members of the community.
HIV stigma is the term for negative attitudes, beliefs, and judgements about people living with, perceived to be living with, or at risk for HIV. Stigma has been an issue since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began. Lack of knowledge, fear, and the spreading of public rumors are among the many causes of HIV stigma. Although there have been great advancements in HIV prevention and treatment, there are still misconceptions about HIV that continue to fuel stigma today.
“There have been tremendous strides made in HIV treatment and prevention, but HIV stigma is still prevalent today – even within the LGBTQ+ community,” said Tri Truong, Marketing Manager for Prism Health North Texas. “We are publishing online conversations with experts and community leaders about HIV stigma and the role it plays in different communities and cultures. Our goal is to normalize HIV as a manageable health condition and encourage open and honest conversations about HIV.”
The campaign, headlined by messaging that those with HIV deserve health care, acceptance, life, and love, is sponsored in part by the Southern AIDS Coalition’s SPARK! (Southerners Promoting Awareness, Resources, & Knowledge) Grant initiative.
“These messages were crafted with the friends and family of someone living with HIV in mind. It is letting their loved ones know that a person living with HIV still deserves acceptance, love, to live, and access to quality health care,” Truong added. “Having a conversation about HIV can be difficult, but it is the first step to learn about HIV and dispel any myths about HIV.”
I deserve acceptance: Ending HIV stigma begins with open conversations. Clear communication breaks down misconceptions and stereotypes about people living with HIV. This work creates the path to acceptance.
I deserve health care: Finding HIV care, treatment, and education can be difficult, and it can be expensive, especially without insurance. There are countless organizations and programs in our community that provide quality HIV care in a safe and affirming place, many at low to no cost.
I deserve to live: Life doesn’t stop with an HIV positive diagnosis. With HIV treatment, people living with HIV can continue to live their life. Dancing, working out, having a great sex life - there are no limits.
I deserve love: An HIV positive diagnosis shouldn’t change how much someone is loved and supported.
North Texans can learn more about PHNTX’s efforts to fight HIV stigma at phntx.org/hiv-stigma or they can tune into the organization’s weekly podcast series, Beneath the Briefs, for a five part series on HIV that includes deep discussion of stigma and how to address it.
The campaign is supported by a grant from the Southern AIDS Coalition through the Gilead COMPASS Initiative®. Gilead Sciences, Inc. has had no input into the development or content of these materials.”